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The Miracle of Friendship

A few weeks ago, I had an overwhelming urge to speak with a certain old friend from high school. We couldn't have been closer during those four character shaping years, yet lost touch after graduation. She married right after graduation and began working with her husband and raising a family, and I was off to college. And, as the words of an old Joni Mitchell song (The Circle Game) can remind us, "The seasons they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down. We're captive on the carousel of time." The years have flown by, each of us busy with our own lives and families, and suddenly I couldn't stop thinking about how much I needed to talk to Linda. 

My old friend is not on social media (I tried that first!), so I called my uncle, who in my memory had some connection to Linda's husband, and word somehow reached her that I was trying to get in touch. As fate would have it, Linda was in the hospital at the time I had been thinking about her, and was near death. She tells me now that she was thinking about me at the same time and wanted to find and talk with me too. She's back at home, and just as I was starting to write this blog post about poetry (because April), my phone rang with an unfamiliar number from my hometown. 

If you don't believe in miracles, I'm not sure I can convince you, but after the initial shock and pure joy at hearing her voice again, I synced my earphones, brewed a mug of tea, and stepped away from the computer. I have had the most amazing afternoon of escaping back in time with my friend and pondering the meaning of friendship. I found this quote which is really speaking to me today. "A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you." - Elbert Hubbard

Friendship can seem like a miracle, but it is also something that can (and should) be taught. Throughout my classroom career, I tried to encourage friendship among my students. I found ways to help those who may have been shy or reluctant to reach out and form some connections. I probably didn't originate the phrase, "It's not a wedding!", but I used it when objections arose to the cooperative groups that I had set up for learning activities. 

I devoted years in my career to encouraging friendship, and have developed quite a few resources in Rainbow City Learning to do the same for your students. I hope you'll browse through them. Here's a cute little video I developed with my friend Lessia Bonn to go with a Friendship/Poetry unit that we co-authored . You can find the unit here. For the video, just click below! Why not teach friendship and poetry at the same time? After all, it's April!





 


For more April-themed ideas, check out the blogs of Teacher Talk below! If you would also like to be a part of Teacher Talk, we are a group of teacher bloggers who share posts that are heavy on the ideas with just a little selling of our educational materials at TeachersPayTeachers.com.  For more information about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative, go to https://bit.ly/3o7D1Dv.  Feel free to email me at retta.london@gmail.com if you have any questions. 




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Greet Students With the Arts

 Yeah, I spend way too much time on Facebook. It's hard to resist especially during this past year apart. All my friends are in there! I can pick up my phone or iPad, or turn on the computer, and find family and friends right there. I can interact a little, feel comforted, and step away. (Well, most of the time I can step away!) It has definitely become more of an addiction during the past year though.

During one of my recent forays into Facebook, I ran across an open post from a former school superintendent. Her name is Teresa Thayer Snyder, and she is the former superintendent of Voorheesville School District in New York. Dr. Snyder had some excellent advice for our return to school, originally posted on her own Facebook page, but currently spread far and wide all over the internet. Dr. Snyder is a fierce opponent of the catch them up and test them philosophy. Rather, she asks teachers to welcome their students back with art supplies and writing materials, with music and dance, with every avenue of the arts that will help the children to tell their stories, to enter into the historical record the many ways in which the past year has changed their lives. 

Dr. Snyder is a woman of my own heart. Exactly the way my classroom ran for thirty six years. Welcome them in with a love of the arts, and make sure that they have every opportunity to tell their stories. I've blogged about all this before, and will include a roundup of those posts at the end of this post. Never has there been a more important time to be soft and comforting with kids, to allow all the time in the world for them to get acclimated to school in person again, and to encourage them to tell their personal stories. 

On a personal note myself, a former student who was going through some life issues recently asked me if I could just pull something out of the closet in Rainbow City (what we called our classroom) to make it better. Thinking back on what I might have pulled out all those years ago, I'm pretty sure that it was as simple as some art supplies, writing materials, and maybe a little background music. (And, oh yeah, glitter. If you truly know me...) Stir these ingredients gently and add a dash of time, and you just might be able to help your individual students to heal from our shared trauma. When I'm trying to heal myself these days at home, that's just what I do - head to my art room. (The children have grown and are gone, so their rooms can be whatever now.) Once inside my art room, I pull out the journals, paints, brushes, and glitter and turn on the soft rock station. Might even dance a little. No one's watching. I promise you that it's much more healing than cramming for a test.

School districts now are actually considering ditching the standardized tests. I hope that for each of you, that comes to be, and I hope that you will be planning some art-infused activities to gently return to learning while honoring what your students have been through. 

You might start with a "Bucketful of Shivers" activity as detailed in this post. Simply, this activity gives kids a chance to throw away some negative thoughts and to start banking some positive thoughts. We all need a bank of positive thoughts to drown out the negative when we encounter those. Pretty easy to make buckets out of construction paper and pretty easy for kids to decorate them with crayons or markers!

You can find a lesson on creating a memory box and filling it with a special moment story in this post. This is a private way for students to write about a special memory with a loved one. Stories can be about a grandparent that they might not have seen for awhile, or could be a private way to remember and honor a family member that they may have lost. 

How about dancing in a storm in your dress clothes? Remember dress up clothes? I hear they'll be replacing our sweat pants soon. Hope some of mine still fit. 😂 Why not put on some music with a prompt to dance right at your socially distanced desk, imagining a certain situation, like wearing your pajamas in a softly falling snow, or wearing a tee shirt and shorts as you sink your toes into the sand at the beach? Wearing your ski clothes and trying to dance on a merry go round. Your kids can come up with much better prompts, I'm sure! Here's a post about a free lesson to get the fearless learning ahead started! I would absolutely do this dancing in a storm in your best clothes thing the very first day back! 

I wrote a post in June of 2020 after reading Glennon Doyle's book Untamed. Lots to think about "burning it down" with regard to how we used to teach and finding freedom in teaching in new ways. We are forever changed by what we have all been through during the pandemic year. All of us. Teachers, families, children. What a perfect time to let go of the past and move forward in a way that fits who we are now. Here's my take on Untamed Teachers.

Try some letter writing. Step away from the screens. Let your kids decorate the stationery and write the letters in their own handwriting. Letters to themselves during the last normal school year that they had, and letters as you go through the year to their future selves. Find a lesson on reaching out to future selves here.

Bring in a bagful or bucket of rocks and break out some paint. Let your students spread some positive words for others in your school by painting and spreading rocks at the entrance. Find a post about sharing our One Heart here.

Click here for a post about the need to give students the time and space to tell their stories.

And finally (for this post anyway), find a plan for using the arts mixed with literature to teach perseverance.

I would love love love to hear about an activity that you are using to welcome your students back that integrates the arts! Tell me please in the comment section below! 





For more thoughts on teaching in March and April, don't miss the following posts by the members of Teacher Talk! If you would also like to be a part of Teacher Talk, we are a group of teacher bloggers who share posts that are heavy on the ideas with just a little selling of our educational materials at TeachersPayTeachers.com.  For more information about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative, go to https://bit.ly/3o7D1Dv.  Feel free to email me at retta.london@gmail.com if you have any questions. 


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Small Moment Stories

March 7, 2020 was the last time I went out for a meal with friends.Yeah, I know about outdoor dining, igloos, and tents, socially distanced tables, etc. I just have been afraid to try any of it. Not judging those who have made it work for them. Just not for me. Yesterday though, hubby and I met an old friend in sunny Orlando, and sat at a very distanced picnic table at an absolutely adorable little breakfast/lunch spot called Eola General. It was delicious in every way - a delicious lunch and an afternoon filled with delicious gifts of the soul. 

My mind is filled with the precious moments of today, precious moments of the past, and the promise of more precious moments to come once enough of us get vaccinated. As I dozed on and off in the car on the way home (Hubby driving, not me!), my teacher brain traveled back to that time when I convinced my sweet students that every lesson that we shared together and the time we spent learning it was like opening a precious gift. Yes! They bought it! Of course they did, because I believed in it so much myself, and they could tell. You know yourself that's how anything that you teach works. If you're really feelin' it yourself, it's easier to bring your learners along with you. We had a song to describe what we were feeling from the creative mind and studio of Lessia Bonn. Here's a little video about it that we collaborated on: Gift in This Present 

Moving from the simple thoughts of just spending an afternoon with a friend, and how precious these small moments in time are, my teacher brain circled back to teaching kids to write personal narratives by capturing and writing stories about those small moments. As "March is Reading Month" is upon us, along with "Women's History Month", and following "Black History Month", along with the uproar over newly discovered issues with Dr. Seuss, I am thinking this: How about a Faith Ringgold author study?

Faith Ringgold, artist, author, teacher, and woman of color, wrote twelve children's picture books, about small moments that stayed close to the heart and small, to small moments that became monumental ones. My favorite way to study and take mentorship from Faith Ringgold is through the Quilt Story. Ms. Ringgold combined her love of art, storytelling, and fabric design in her quilt stories. Tar Beach is a perfect place to start. It's a quilt story based on a small moment from Ringgold's childhood. The story takes place on a rooftop summer night in New York, when, as a child, Faith dreamed that she could fly. A delicious memory!

Faith Ringgold holds a special place in my heart because, in her promotion of her soon to be published (at that time) My Dream of Martin Luther King, she visited a library not too far from our school. My students were invited to present their small moment quilt stories that they had created to her. She celebrated and treated them like real authors along with the parents and teachers who attended. 

If you have ever browsed in Rainbow City Learning, you may have noticed a quilt activity or two (or twelve). It's an activity for individual or group participation that my students have loved over the years. Class created quilts make awesome displays in the classroom or hallway. I am currently working on a clickable online version as well. Stay tuned! (Join my mailing list for an upcoming free sample!) Translating a quilt activity to a story quilt is an easy leap to make. Here is a quick teacher created tutorial that you can show to your students: Small Moment Story Quilt. A story quilt basically has two elements: a central image showing a small moment and the story told in words around the border. Second and third graders should be able to write a few sentences around the border; I expect a few paragraphs from fourth and fifth graders. An alternate way to create the quilt square is to place the text in the center square and then pictures around the border. 

Here's a quick link to some of Faith Ringgold's books (not an affiliate). I was surprised to see just now that the winter of 1998 was the time that my students met Faith Ringgold. We had been creating those story quilts since school started in the fall of 1997! The years have slipped by in an instant! Yet another reason to collect as many precious moments as you can! Some of the teaching days and weeks are long, but the years just slip through your fingers! 

A few more resources that I found to bring the magic of quilt stories to your students:

Anchor Books for Small Moment Writing

Mentor Texts for Teaching Small Moments Writing

Whitney Houston: One Moment in Time

Big Love, Small Moments (I thought this one was PERFECT!)

Faith Ringgold reading Tar Beach

Learning Art Through Faith Ringgold's History

Getting to Know Faith Ringgold

A related blog post about using the "Gift in This Present" theme can be found here: The Gift of Time

Happy March, everyone, however you choose to celebrate it! 





For more teaching inspiration for February/March, check out the amazing Teacher Talk blogs below. If you would also like to be a part of Teacher Talk, we are a group of teacher bloggers who share posts that are heavy on the ideas with just a little selling of our educational materials at TeachersPayTeachers.com.  For more information about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative, go to https://bit.ly/3o7D1Dv.  Feel free to email me at retta.london@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

If you are so kind as to comment on my post, please know that all comments are monitored and will be posted when approved. (You may not see your comment right away after you post!)

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Sweet Deals for February


 Hope you've already signed up for my email list by entering your email on the pop up with the free yoga cards! As an email member, future deals and free stuff will be coming your way!

We have a big week ahead, beginning with Half Off Half Time deals tonight during the Super Bowl. Prices in effect when half time starts! Find Rainbow City Learning's bundle deals here, or search for #HALFOFFHALFTIME for lots more half price deals!


Learn how to earn a $10 gift card by visiting this Facebook post! Don't forget to leave your email in case you win!


Visit Rainbow City Learning on TpT and get your wishlist started for the sale! 

And, finally, enter our TBOTEMC Rafflecopter for a chance to win $100.00 in TpT gift cards!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope to see you at the sale!


Inaugurations Past and Present

I have watched several inaugural addresses with my students. We would have lunch together in the classroom and turn on the tv at noon.  We would find inspiration and much to discuss when the speech was over. Each of us had a favorite part to highlight. Presidents have traditionally shared their vision for our country's future while outlining the goals they hope to accomplish during their term of service. Watching and listening during all the inaugural activities provided a window to history being made in real time, and motivation for being better students of government and history going forward. For help and inspiration with presenting primary documents to your students, visit The Our Documents Initiative. It is a goldmine for teachers!

My favorite inaugural address of all time is John F. Kennedy's speech from January of 1961. I was way too much of a little elementary school fangirl at the time, devoting my entire sketchbook for art around different poses of our fresh and young President. (Thoughts for another post. What makes kids connect with current events?) Of course, we all remember, "...ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Every time I revisit this amazing speech, cobbled from John Kennedy's notes, and reworked through the whole writing process (!) by Ted Sorenson (speech writer) and John Kennedy together, I find new amazing and prophetic nuggets. Just a few chin droppers and mind bogglers to follow:

Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959, toppling my reign (according to my grandfather) as "the prettiest little girl in 48 states". Since Grandpa hadn't visited Alaska or Hawaii yet, we both had to concede that there might be a prettier little girl in one of the new states. He doubted it, but still... Anyway, back to Kennedy's speech...

"To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom--and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside." I may have a t-shirt imprinted with that last part. 

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." 

"Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce."

Just my faves from this year's dive into the text. I like to revisit. Every single Presidential Inaugural Speech has nuggets to mine, discuss, and inspire going forward. Who could forget President Trump's words about American Carnage, yet do you also recall that he said, "We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans."? Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller have taken credit as the authors of this Inaugural Address. 

A fun activity to try with your kids is to select some Inaugural speeches and to mine them for nuggets worthy of analysis and discussion. Session six of this ten session unit will help you to do that, and also to predict, view, and later to analyze President's Biden's speech. 

The Inauguration this year will be very different from those in the past. No outdoor crowds, no night filled with balls for the new President and First Lady to dance at. So many changes. To remember how Americans typically celebrate an Inauguration, and to compare/contrast the very unusual one for President Biden, you may want to use this resource:


Wishing you a happy Inauguration Week with many opportunities for learning and healing ahead!




For more teaching inspiration for January/February, check out the amazing Teacher Talk blogs below. If you would also like to be a part of Teacher Talk, we are a group of teacher bloggers who share posts that are heavy on the ideas with just a little selling of our educational materials at TeachersPayTeachers.com.  For more information about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative, go to https://bit.ly/3o7D1Dv.  Feel free to email me at retta.london@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

If you are so kind as to comment on my post, please know that all comments are monitored and will be posted when approved. (You may not see your comment right away after you post!)

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Hope is Just Ahead


When I was ten years old, I went to a friend's birthday party. It was a pajama party, and at 10 pm, her mother let us all watch a tv show called "The Twilight Zone". That experience changed my life! I loved the show (the one about a department store mannequin who comes alive and then forgets that she was ever a mannequin until - da da da- she rides the elevator to the 13th floor), and started a lifelong love of science fiction and a slight taste for the horror genre. I still watch The Twilight Zone marathon on tv every year during New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Every episode of the original series begins with: “You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

Last February was so perfect. My husband and I were on a Disney adventure with our daughter, son-in-love, and three of our beautiful grandchildren. The weather was heavenly, and we went from ride to ride, stopping to meet and greet our favorite characters and we ate at our favorite restaurants and character meals. Hubby and I stayed near Disney World in a beautiful house for the whole month, so after the kids left, we spent a fair amount of time at another favorite place, Disney Springs. My favorite store is there - Free People! Yeah, I know I'm too old for their clothing, but honey, I make it work! We also spent many happy hours hiking and biking and drinking lattes around the lake in Celebration, a Disneyesque little town.
 
As I look back now on these idyllic memories, I wonder how we missed the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Twilight Zone! Little did we know that as we enjoyed our trip and flew back home, the virus was swirling all around us even then. The signpost was up, but we missed it. We were both sick throughout March and April, but were certainly among the luckiest ones. We managed to stay out of the hospital and convalesce at home.
 
For the past nine months, the world has felt as if we have entered The Twilight Zone. More of the horror and less of the lighter, more imaginative aspects. Everyone's life has been turned upside down in so many ways. Nothing is as it was pre-signpost. 

As we cautiously approach 2021 (come in on tiptoe, be quiet, don't touch anything), the future is starting to look brighter. There are several vaccines that, hopefully, will reach as many people as possible, that may provide some immunity, and we have the hope of returning to the lives we loved. Some of my teacher friends are already back in the classroom and masked face to masked face. Some are teaching in a hybrid model, and some are totally remote. Kids have had so much adapting to do, and some have fared better than others. 



As we feel our way through the uncertain corridors of this year's holiday season and approach the New Year 2021, it's hard to know how to "celebrate" that transition with our students. In previous years, it was way easier than we ever appreciated. We could just address goals and plans (resolutions) for the year ahead. Some took these commitments more seriously than others, but the assignment was pretty easily conceived. This year? Not so easy.

Of course, you want to address goal setting tempered with a look back at achievement in 2020. But 2020 was SO different that IMO it isn't a cut and dried topic. I did some brainstorming this week on what questions it might be beneficial to ask. The first topic that kids (as all of us) might have some need to vent about is just our feelings about 2020 in general. Feelings, just feelings, without the constraints of grammar, spelling, and usage. Maybe just a word cloud. (or an unorganized, possibly violent word cyclone such as the one swirling in my own head right now). In any case, a blank page with the question, "What words would you use to describe 2020?" might be in order. You could follow with word clouds about 2021 and try to mine and point out the hope that really does lie ahead. 

There are several word cloud generators available online that you might want to try, or just allow a free write to be done in any style the student may be comfortable with. I have developed a scaffolded set of three brainstorming organizers and a cute flip book to encourage students to take an honest look back, and to consider the year ahead with hope and a little dreaming too. People who choose Futurist as their career and mission in life must mix a little of the magic of imagination as they make predictions. No age is too early to inject a little of that in our perspective on what lies ahead. Now would be a good time to make your kids aware that Futurist is an actual career that some may want to consider. As I've said so many times before, you never know what future selves are sitting in your classroom (or in boxes on your screen) right now!

If you would like a FREE copy of one of the organizers, be sure that you are on my mailing list. Just enter your email in that pop up that appears with free yoga cards when you first click on this blog post. I will email a free organizer to all of my email list on December 25. If you are already on the list, you're in! Stay on the list for more freebies, sales, and deals in the future! 

Love the idea of approaching 2021 in a different way this year? Check out the full resource that I created! Just click below! Your purchase will include both a traditional printable flip book, and a link to download a Google Drive version. 


My wish for you in the days ahead, dear teachers, is a return to normal, whatever that means to you. Enjoy the peace of the holiday season as you plan for the days ahead with your students and school community!

"Surely hope is just ahead; and sorrow is behind us." - Billy Ray Cyrus


For more teaching inspiration for December/January, check out the amazing Teacher Talk blogs below. If you would also like to be a part of Teacher Talk, we are a group of teacher bloggers who share posts that are heavy on the ideas with just a little selling of our educational materials at TeachersPayTeachers.com.  For more information about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative, go to https://bit.ly/3o7D1Dv.  Feel free to email me at retta.london@gmail.com if you have any questions. 


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Telling Our Stories



Who tells your story? Your parents tell it back to you at first, all the tender and embarrassing moments that you were too young to place into accessible memory at the time.  For most of your life, you tell your own
stories: to new and old friends, sometimes to strangers, to those who already love you or who may be falling in love with you, to your own children and grandchildren. After you are gone, your stories are held by those who knew you best: siblings, children, grandchildren, friends, former students, and former colleagues. If you have kept and left diaries, generations to follow in your family will come to know you as if you walked the earth together. If you become famous your lifetime, future biographers will tell their own versions of your story.

Eliza Hamilton tells us Alexander's story, as well as her own, in the Lin-Manuel Miranda song from the play "Hamilton". I know you've been singing or humming it to yourself since the first line of this post. Right? Eliza asks us, "And when you're gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells your story?" She also tells us, "I put myself back in the narrative." That line turns our teacher brain right away to personal narratives, often the first writing genre we try to teach, drawing from personal experiences, the stories our students love to tell. They love to tell their stories orally, yet are often more reluctant to start writing them down. We all know the experience: a flurry of raised hands, one child is recognized to speak, and the response begins, "Once....." Uh oh, not an actual answer, but a story. What do you do? Honor the need to tell our stories, or try to swing the focus back to the standard that must be taught in that 40 minute block? Not an easy choice, yet one that each of us makes several times at least every day. I have been guilty so many times of not only telling my own stories, but of allowing more than one student to get personal with their responses. The challenge to me as an educator was always how to draw the connecting lines so that the time spent will be meaningful in advancing the lesson for all.

Teacher Takeaways

I've been spending way too much time on ZOOM lately, and I don't have a class of students to meet with. Two ZOOM meetings and a Facebook Live each day for three days in a row this week made me feel your pain even more strongly, teachers. I applaud you and pray for you. One of my Zoom calls this week was a meeting of the three congregations affected by the Tree of Life mass murders two years ago. They were meeting to discuss a new book filled with narratives written by those who were either directly involved, or were close to the area or to the victims of the tragedy. My uncle is a survivor of that horrific attack. He deals with the after effects every day, and when he told me about the book and the meeting, I asked if I could attend. The book is Bound in the Bond of Life: Pittsburgh Writers Reflect on the Tree of Life Tragedy, edited by Beth Kissileff and Eric Lidji.

I was drawn to this topic at first because of my family's connection, but as I looked inside the book, I noticed that one of the writers had once, long ago, been a third grade student in my classroom. Of course I wanted to see how his writing had improved since third grade! I ordered the book on the spot! Listening to the writers as they read and discussed excerpts from the book, there were so many teacher takeaways. Two takeaways stood out from all the rest to me as a teacher. Neither was new to me, yet their importance surged in my mind, given our current situation in this age of the pandemic. One is the cathartic nature of just being able to tell your stories. The second is the way the same story is different when told by different people. Each of these, I believe, is important enough to make telling our stories a vital part of our teaching practice this year.

A Catharsis

Kids need to tell their stories. It's a release and a relief. Emotions are running strong right now for all of us. Stuffing our feelings deep inside isn't healthy, and storytelling can be a release. Kids need to be scaffolded into this practice. Start by honoring those responses that start with, "Once...". Plan for lots of short story responses in your morning meetings, and in the first moments of your lessons. Don't let the pandemic and our "new normal" be an elephant in the room beyond the screen. Bring it forward and encourage your students to talk about it. Becoming comfortable with talking about it can become a comfort with writing about it.

Text to Self becomes Text to World

Beginning with these mini oral histories and moving to journal entries, you are well on the way to longer, more traditional personal narratives. As kids start writing in journals, we need to be accepting of short answers as well as longer ones. A good way to ease reluctant writers into the practice is to allow drawing, diagramming, and even stickers to help fill the page at first. Most kids enjoy sharing their journal entries aloud. I wouldn't require it, but gently encourage it whether in small focus groups or with the class as a whole. An online bulletin board would be a great way to anonymously share some journal entries with the rest of the class. 

As you begin to teach personal narrative writing, journal entries that your students have been collecting are a gold mine of topics and prompts for writing. Kids can mark pages that they choose for future narratives with yarn, ribbons, string, sticky notes, or stickers that extend beyond  the page.. (Try sticking a second sticker to the back of the extended sticker to make it a little more long-lasting.) If you are collecting journal entries to show growth through the year as writers, journal entries paint a pretty accurate picture.

As I mentioned in my second takeaway above, writing about the same topic or event will look very different and unique from writer to writer. Many interesting and valuable lessons for writing can be drawn from this. Point of view, compare-contrast, even the basic elements of introduction, plot, characters, problem, and resolution will look different from student to student. The global lesson from this may be that it indeed matters very much who tells our stories.

I started a list of discussion/writing prompts to get you going, if you'd like to explore this more with your students. Just click below, and it's yours! (Background by Workman's Wonders on TpT)


For more ideas for moving from storytelling to journals to personal narrative writing, I hope you'll take a look at some of these classroom-tested resources from Rainbow City Learning! Just click here for the "Telling Our Stories" resource group.

Whatever your story, I wish you peace n the days ahead. Be well.





For more teaching inspiration for November/December, check out the amazing Teacher Talk blogs below. If you would also like to be a part of Teacher Talk, we are a group of teacher bloggers who share posts that are heavy on the ideas with just a little selling of our educational materials at TeachersPayTeachers.com.  For more information about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative, go to https://bit.ly/3o7D1Dv.  Feel free to email me at retta.london@gmail.com if you have any questions. 







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